• Member Since 24th Jul, 2013
  • offline last seen 2 hours ago

GreyGuardPony


Just a simple pegasister who likes world building.


E

Once upon a time in the magical land of Equestria...

That's how these stories usually start, but in a world where heroes of legend fell to corruption that once great nation is no more, and now only lingering divided remnants exist in its stead.

Enter Adagio Dazzle, a young and ambitious noble eager to prove herself and what better way to do so then by hosting the annual memorial festival. Unfortunately this year's commemoration is to be held in Ponyville where she must contend with an overzealous political extremist, an insane chef, a belligerent team of forest rangers, and an uncooperative weather patrol.

To make matters worst within the nearby untamed wilds of the Everfree Forest a storm is brewing. Not just any storm, but a herald of ancient evils soon to return.

For as the old saying goes, when it rains....it pours.

Now with a TV Tropes page!

With special thanks to RainbowDoubleDash, Talon and Thorn, and especially Emeral Bookwise for all their advice and feedback as pre-readers and editors!

Cover art by the talented Gates McCloud.

Chapters (13)
Comments ( 181 )

And so it begins. After all the pre-reading consultation I helped with on this. I really hope to see how everything works out now that you're finally publishing. :pinkiehappy:

While its basic concept has been done to death, this story seems well written, and the characters (mostly Adaggio) tridimensional enough to my liking: an scheming noblemare, ruthless and manipulative yet with a hidden nugget of gold.
Also the take on Chrysalis, which ironically match some of the more "grey" interpretation of Celestia: a deceptive chessmistress with noble goals for her kingdom and her subjects.

7498068

And, as I've said multiple times, thank you very much for all of the help you've given me in getting this to FiMFiction. It's been really appreciated. :pinkiehappy:

7498123

Thanks! I hope you like future chapters too!

7498210

Yes, yes?

7498229

The idea of the alternate mane six is a rather popular track to explore on FiMFiction, its true. I've had this theory for a while that it's the nature of the show itself that's kind of helped feed that. The series premiere gave us these six items that defined their connection to six characters based on a single, powerful word, and then the episodes clearly spelled out how those characters earned those items. The whole setup is almost tailor made to take a look at other MLP characters and think about how they'd fit into those same slots.

Glad that you're enjoying the characters in this one though. A "heroic" Adagio is an interesting character to play with. A hidden nugget of gold isn't a bad way to sum her up.

7498344 Someone did it.

Now all I need is a full Diamond mafia head story & I'd be able die happy.

I'll wait until I have a bit more to sink my teeth into.

Somehow...I knew I was gonna fave this by the time I finished reading it. Well, its time to play guess the elements again.


Nice!

First thing I have to wonder: Is this Chrysalis actually an alicorn, or is she still a changeling queen and she's just disguised as an alicorn?

This is a really interesting AU, and I look forward to seeing how it develops.

As for Elements, I'm guessing Adagio as Magic and Suri as Generosity.

Hey there. I have to say, this DOES look like an intriguing universe. I really like your spins on the characters. I'm guessing the six fallen alicorns are this universe's counterparts to the canon Mane Six .

Specifically

Chroma = Rainbow Dash

Echidna = Fluttershy

Bitterroot = Applejack

Harlequin = Pinkie Pie

Luster = Rarity

and

Midnight = Twilight Sparkle

And I'm also guessing Gleaming Shield is a gender-flipped Shining Armor with bits and pieces of canon Twilight's personality, but I admit I COULD be wrong about that.

I'm also guessing Lightning Dust will be one of this universe's Mane Six (which will also include all three Dazzlings [each a different pony tribe], Suri and Starlight), mostly to keep the "two unicorns, two pegasis and two Earth ponies" balance. Again, though, I WILL admit that I COULD be wrong.

At any rate, excellent job on the exchanges, emotional content, characterizations and future chapter set-up in all the right places. I'll definitely be looking forward to more of this as soon as time and inspiration will allow.

7499422

Chrysalis: (smiling mischievously): "Not telling".

7498880

Guess away alchemy! You'll never be able to figure it out!

....Actually I imagine it'll be easy enough to work out as the story goes on. :derpytongue2:

7499422

Dagi's role is probably pretty easy to work out, what with her being the main viewpoint character so far. You'll just have to wait to see if your guess is right about Suri.

My lips are sealed on Chrysalis though. :scootangel:

7499424

You're pretty much right on the money with your guesses there.

As an aside though, is anyone else annoyed by the five character tag limit? I mean, the show is based around a group of six characters, and we can't even have our own six character tags for making our own Mane Sixes!

Totally not fair. :derpytongue2:

7499793 Thanks. And, yeah, I DO think the limit should be bumped up to seven rather than five (seven so we can include all six PLUS an "other" tag [for the main villain or villains]). I mean, I get that the tag limit was included because of people overusing character tags, but surely seven would be a good balance (not too many, not too few).


GreyGuard, have you picked out a name for this AU yet? If not, I'd suggest "The Adagioverse".

7499424

Good points. If Starlight is in, then she'll probably be Magic (Adagio would most likely be Loyalty in that case). I think it safe to assume that Sonata will be Laughter (if she's present).

Also, the council of Eleven: Luna, Celestia, Chrysalis, Sombra, the Fallen Six... I'm guessing Cadence is the Eleventh?

7499793

As an aside though, is anyone else annoyed by the five character tag limit?

Constantly.

Although for your purposes it probably could have also helped if there was a group-tag for all three sirens in one.

So far, I am truly adoring the setting and characterization, especially with regards to Adagio. She's nice enough to be likable but still scheming and charismatic. I have a few thoughts on which character gets which element, but it's still a little early to say anything conclusive. I hope to see more soon, because this looks like a really cool story!

7500655

Thanks! That line with Adagio is a fine line to walk. She still has to feel like the character from Rainbow Rocks, but have enough good points that she could be more of a hero too. I'm happy to hear that I'm pulling that off (so far at least) for you.

Great work on this story. I found myself liking this interpretation of Adagio, and I can't wait to see the rest of this verse's heroes.

My general issue with the start of this piece is that I'm pretty dissatisfied with the world building here. Until we got to Court with Queen Chrysalis and Sombra I had no idea what was going on. And that wasn't in a good way. If you take a look at the start of the Lunaverse for example, and various other AUs like this in the same spirit they often start with a thing like: https://youtu.be/ZHgRh7sEJkU from canon. Here you didn't do that at all. And while I can appreciate you wanting to do something different then the norm, you didn't establish enough still for me to be grounded on what exactly you're doing here. While questions about who is who are nice, and a certain mystery is good there is a point where that gets to be a little too frustrating and a few more explanations seem to be badly required before we move onto the narrative.

Further, you're using villain characters as your protagonists which is fine. However, are these characters even the same species and entities they were in canon in any fashion? Chrysalis and Sombra are mysteries. And that is to the good. Questions and later revelations about those two could be juicy indeed. However, for Adagio it seems like she's just a realtively normal unicorn Pony. And that is sort of blah. I'm not a fan of using characters with the same name and similar personality traits but with deep changes to canon with little justification. Now if she somehow becomes a Siren in the course of the piece I suppose my concern is gone. However, considering you're drastically changing what seems to be her back story already I'm confused as to why you used her in this fashion. Would've much rather her been a part of the power structure as her actual canon species, but hiding it. Which could possibly fit in theme with the other characters here. My real question is if you're going to change that much about a canon character so that even their species and all aspects of their backstories are unrecognizable are you really writing that character in the first place?

The real challenge which would've made this piece immensely more interesting to me would've been if you kept the general back story and species of these protagonist characters but within the world you're creating you give them reasons why they're the heroes. If you're going to use multiple villains as protagonists here, but with them lacking any sort of canon backstories behind them are they really the same characters? At all? Sure Equestria seems to be a very different place, and sure in this changed world there would be differences generated in backstories and characters, changing basic species and completely reworking back story seems like a rather large cheat.

Honestly this is a very rocky start to the piece. The first third felt like it was missing a short or lengthy introduction to showcase the world at least a little. Then once things got going it got a lot better. I'm interested in the mysteries and things you aren't revealing. But with the issues of character use and introduction being very lacking I'm not sure how much popularity this will receive. It's simply not accessible. Still looks like there's enough here to add this to my watch list and see how it develops. I would strongly encourage you to add a introduction or prologue sort of like the Canon YouTube video I linked, or work a scene proceeding this with maybe one of Adagio's servants children reading a story book or hearing a smidgen of world building before we get into the piece proper. This just really needs more grounding.

7504329

I appreciate your in depth feedback Bree! There's a bit to unpack in what you said though, so I'm going to kind of do this in sections with quotes.

My general issue with the start of this piece is that I'm pretty dissatisfied with the world building here. Until we got to Court with Queen Chrysalis and Sombra I had no idea what was going on. And that wasn't in a good way. If you take a look at the start of the Lunaverse for example, and various other AUs like this in the same spirit they often start with a thing like:

from canon. Here you didn't do that at all. And while I can appreciate you wanting to do something different then the norm, you didn't establish enough still for me to be grounded on what exactly you're doing here.

I do feel like I need to ask for a little bit of clarification here. The link you provided doesn't match up with the start of the Lunaverse to me. Whether we're talking Longest Night, Longest Day or Boast Busted, neither story had an opening summary narration like that. They both started in the middle of our characters doing stuff and then teased out the details of the world as the fics went on.

Now, you could argue that I might have gotten a little too enamored with the idea of Adagio struggling with the finances of her noble house as an opening. And that could be a fair criticism. It did feel different and a unique way to set the initial stage, which is probably why I liked it.

However, for Adagio it seems like she's just a realtively normal unicorn Pony. And that is sort of blah. I'm not a fan of using characters with the same name and similar personality traits but with deep changes to canon with little justification. Now if she somehow becomes a Siren in the course of the piece I suppose my concern is gone. However, considering you're drastically changing what seems to be her back story already I'm confused as to why you used her in this fashion.

While I respect your opinion, this is a stance that I've never entirely gotten. I've seen fics on this website that have played around with humanized takes on our beloved ponies, even before Equestria Girls. There have been takes on those same characters as different genders from their canon selves. I mean, even within our cannon take of Adagio Dazzle, she went from a siren, to a human with a little bit of siren magic, to "a normal teenage girl". What species Dagi is, in some ways, feels like the least important aspect of her character.

However, with my future chapter knowledge at my fingertips, I can tell you that she is still a siren on a thematic level. A great deal of her magic is sound and enchantment based.

But with the issues of character use and introduction being very lacking I'm not sure how much popularity this will receive. It's not very accessible. Still looks like there's enough here to add this to my watch list and see how it develops.

Well, however this fic develops for you, I thank you for the in depth feedback you gave me there. It's always nice to hear dissenting views as well as those that think your work is awesome. I do hope that I'll be able to entertain you a bit more with the following chapters though! :twilightsmile:

7500081

Whoops! Sorry Void, I completely based on your 'Verse name comment. :twilightblush:

My working title was "Rainsverse" when I was writing it, though your suggestion isn't bad either.

A very solid beginning. As others have said, I like Adagio here as she's got the makings of an engaging protagonist who can bring her own flavor to this kind of AU. I'll admit I'm immediately curious as to where the other two sirens might be in this kind of AU setting, but I imagine they'll be brought up at one point or another. I'm now mostly wondering who will fill out the rest of this AU's Mane6 and what threat they'll be facing. The background given here and the fractured nature of Equestria leaves a lot of possibilities for antagonists, and you already mentioned a whole cadre of ancient villains who might prove engaging in their own right. I enjoy that Adagio also starts out with her own little cadre of house servants who seem like they got their own distinct personalities that can be expanded upon, as both Suri and Iron Will have a chance in this kind of AU to do a lot more than what they're usually used for in other stories.

Definitely looking forward to more. :twilightsmile:

7504329

My real question is if you're going to change that much about a canon character so that even their species and all aspects of their backstories are unrecognizable are you really writing that character in the first place?

I was one of Grey's primary contributing editors for this project, and admittedly early on shared some similar concerns. It took a few revision attempts to get the character balance right in terms of personalities so that they were sufficiently "good" to be believable heroes, while still sufficiently "bad" to be recognizable as there canon selves. Even as is, I'm not entirely sure we succeeded with Chrysalis and Sombra, but as you mentioned that sort of plays into a bit of a mysterious allure.

As for Adagio specifically though. I think we did a much better job getting her personality right, and I think that's really what matters most. Like Grey said, there are already a plethora of fic and pics in this fandom depicting familiar characters as different races, with the Sirens as ordinary ponies being pretty down right common. Heck, even the boxart on their OFFICIAL toys depicts the trio as ponies, as opposed to thier original aquatic forms.

That said, while it may never come up in this story or be canon to this AU, I'll share with you a hypothetical explanation for the discrepancy that I discussed while editing this with Grey. In this version of Equestria rather than banish the original sirens through a mirror, Starswirl actually killed them. As such, the trio in this story are instead reincarnations, their souls having been reborn as mortal ponies. They still retain their fundamental defining personality traits, but otherwise have lived entirely different lives of their own.

7504459

Thanks a lot Vex! You're one of my favorite authors on this site, so the fact that setting and the characters are connecting with you tickles me pink.

Don't worry though, Aria and Sonata will be showing up soon enough! :pinkiehappy:

Hm... So she may not be specifically anti-cutie mark, but if those smiles are any indication, there is something going on that is not quite natural. :trixieshiftleft:

This could be an interesting take on Glimglam, for sure. I will wait eagerly to see where you decide to go with it. Friend or foe?

Hey there. Thanks very much for getting the next chapter up. I really appreciate you going to the effort. Once again, splendid job on the exchanges, emotional content, characterizations and future chapter set-up in all the right places. The alternate spin on Starlight's equality fixation is very good and the first meeting between Adagio and Starlight was certainly quite entertaining. Hopefully though, the two will eventually develop enough of an at least grudging mutual respect to work together when the situation calls for it (they probably will, of course, but you never really know). At any rate, I will definitely be looking forward to more of this as soon as time and inspiration will allow.

Adagio stared at the silhouette of Ponyville. It rose from a small sea of fields and orchards, with very sturdy walls, as appropriate for a town situated as close to the legendary Everfree Forest as it was. Really, the location was probably amongst the least logical ones for a town, if it hadn’t been founded by refugees fleeing the devastation of the old capital Rhoam.
Not that it was completely without merit. There was plenty of land available for farming, a river that ran past it for water and- perhaps the oddest thing going for it- was built around a large break in The Canterhorn Aqueduct. Its citizens had taken advantage of that by building a massive cistern to collect the water that would be wasted otherwise

Finally! An author how acknowledges Ponyville´s logistic problems in a believable way. :twistnerd:

Also, nice subversion of Starlight´s "our town". I admit I wasn´t expecting it

7517793

Those smiles could have also come from the fact they were suddenly face to face with this baroness they think is completely insane from all those crazy laws "she" passed. Or maybe something else is going on there. TIME WILL TELL!

7517798

Perhaps they'll even be friendemies? Friendemies with benefits? Long term pen pals?

:derpytongue2:

I kid, I kid.

7518203

Thanks Comic! Starlight is a fun character to work with, AU or not and finding a way to do a twist on her equality obsession was an interesting thing to puzzle out.

7518265

Well, this is why when you use settlers to build your city, you really got to be aware of how many food and production tiles the surrounding hexes provide. Otherwise it'll take you sixty damn turns to build a single library! :trollestia:

*Civilization 5 humor!*

7519489

Well, this is why when you use settlers to build your city, you really got to be aware of how many food and production tiles the surrounding hexes provide. Otherwise it'll take you sixty damn turns to build a single library! :trollestia:
*Civilization 5 humor!*

And then, fucking Ghandi pays you a visit :twilightangry2:

s3media.247sports.com/Uploads/Assets/83/207/3207083.jpg

I'm enjoying some of the more subtle differences in this AU, like the notion that Ponyville is a walled town with an old aqueduct, two setting details that actually say a lot about the world is potentially a bit more dangerous than the main universe, and emphasizes that there was a previous nation that fell.

Starlight is a good foil for Adagio, given that Starlight's social crusade is not cutie mark focused here but instead concerning the current status norms of the kingdom, with Adagio being firmly entrenched in that system. Should make them fun to watch play off each other.

Indentured servitude isn't a bad dragon to go after, although it's pretty clear that Adagio views the practice as a very specific, contractual exchange of services: Suri agreed to a specific term of service, and when that term expires, her debt is paid. Anything else (food, boarding, etc.) is a strict cost of business and included in the term of service already.

Really, it's just a contract of employment with room and board in lieu of monetary compensation. It probably includes a pretty killer health plan, too.

7519800

Except these "pluses" are a gracious concession from the patron; as Suri mentioned, there are far crueler masters than Adaggio.

Good work, I can see Starlight acting this way. I wonder who Adagio will meet next?

7519535

*shakes fist at the sky*

GHHHAAANNNDDDIIIII!!

7519640

I think that it's Starlight's lot in life to always be counter to the main culture of whatever universe she's in. Really though, Adagio and her really do mix like oil and water sometimes.

7519944

You really don't want to see the Mister Cake of this world.

7520375

*snacks on a taco*

I have absolutely no idea!

"Caprataur," eh? Got some goat mixed in them?

I actually didn't notice this until reading this chapter, but now it astonishes me that minotaurs and such are only barely acknowledged in canon. Iron Will is somewhat cheesy just by his very nature so I worry he would detract from more serious scenes, but it's really nice to see ponies reacting to him, and the hints of similar species are very intriguing.

Also, Sonata staining the map was brilliant in a very Sonataish manner. Loved that whole scene in the restaurant.

Congratulations on getting featured!

7537816

I was going to make a "they're really baaaaaadddd" joke here, but then I realized those would be Sheep-a-taurs. Soo....uhh.....insert goat related joke here?

7537904

You are completely right about them not being acknowledged much in the actual show. But you know the thing that's always bugged me the most about minotaurs and MLP? How so many Human in Equestria writers kind of forget about them too and have ponies stunned senseless about hands. You already live on a world with a species that has hands! They aren't that weird dang it!

Glad you got a kick out of Sonata though. I have to give Emeral Bookwise credit for floating the idea to me, but it was just so amazingly Sonata that I had to use it. Sour Sweet makes a heck of a waitress though, doesn't she? :pinkiehappy:

Congratulations on getting featured!

o_O

*checks front page, blinks, takes a sip of tea and immediately does a spit-take*

Holy heck! I didn't even notice that until you pointed it out! Thanks so much!

Hey there. Thanks very much for getting the next chapter up. I really appreciate you going to the effort. Once again, excellent job on the exchanges, emotional content and future chapter set-up in all the right places. I particularly liked your spins on Sonata, Lightning and Spitfire. I just thought of a possible line later on in the story (assuming you don't already have something pretty similar or even better in mind [which is entirely likely, admittedly]):


1. At an appropriate point, when the REAL action begins, Adagio can comment "Suri, if we make it out of this alive, you can consider your debt to my house paid in full."

Of course, if you don't like the idea, I will completely understand. And, at any rate, I will definitely be looking forward to more of this as soon as time and inspiration will allow.

7538004

Holy heck! I didn't even notice that until you pointed it out!

Welcome back, boss.

When it Rains

...I get my umbrella out.

I like the idea of the Everfree Rangers being this autonomous band of hunter/knights, each dealing with a different part of the forest. Has this faint Warhammer vibe of the different knightly orders of the Empire.

Won't say I'm not a teeny bit disappointed that there isn't an actual family relationship between Adagio and the other two siren characters here, but I can understand why that might be, given the nature of the plot-line being constructed for this AU. Part of me was hoping for them being long lost cousins from a forgotten branch of the Dazzle bloodline or something... then again Ponyville was run by Adago's family, and who knows who... er... promiscuous any of Adagio's forebears might've been with the local peasantry? Now I'm going to be seeing Sonata as some distant bastard relation, ripe for an episode akin to the one from the show where Pinkie Pie finds out she might be related to the Apples, only with Sonata and Adagio.

Aw, and Iron Will is such a gentleman (gentletaur?). Will/Sonata OTP. Huh... what would you call that? Ironata?

7538025

I'll keep that in the back of my mind for now. Adagio's character is very much a balancing act between bitchy and nice. Suri being released from her servitude needs to have the right emotional punch to it, I think. We'll see though.

7538056

That was bad and you should feel bad! :flutterrage:

:derpytongue2: Just kidding!

7538295

*smirks at your Warhammer reference*

Warhammer Fantasy was a deep well for me to draw on for the Everfree Forest of this reality. The fear of the dark woods and what lurks within, is a big thing in that setting. As evidenced by this quote about the Beastmen from Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Edition

They’re in the woods, you know. Always there. Any time you go in the woods, chances are you’re no more than a few leagues from a Beastman camp. Mostly ’ey just takes foresters and charcoal burners, but every so often a band of ’em will come out of the trees and take a village or a town, burning and killing and looting.

-Old Hob, Peasant Farmer

I'll just leave that there. :trixieshiftright:

I suppose it could be possible that the three sirens are somehow distantly related through a massive family tree. I'll confess that I haven't thought too much beyond this fic and such a family connection really wouldn't be immediately relevant in this fic. But, hey, if this one goes over well, I can always write more in the universe.

Ironata. Yes! I love that portmanteau! Admittedly Will was just his usual charming and flirty self. Sonata? I think she's crushing a bit harder. Seems like something she'd do.

I wish I could like this a second time...

Excellent work on this chapter. As a fan of Sonata, I enjoy her portrayal in this story.

And I also have just realized *now* that all of this world building was just undermined by the anachronistic presence of corn at the start of Chapter 2. Go me!

You could just write it off by saying they got it from the Buffalo before Scorpan came to Equestria. Say do the Buffalo even exist in this verse?

What the heck's a Caprataur?

7538631

Thanks Vol!

7539203

Buffalo do exist in this universe. I had pictured their homelands being across the eastern sea, but since you mentioned them, that's given me something of an idea....

As far as to what a Caprataur is? Well, they're like a minotaur. The capra part of their name comes from the scientific designation of your average goat. So, they're goatataurs!

7539307

Never? Have you no shame sir? No decency?

Well, you very clearly do not, since you just said so! :derpytongue2:


Oh, Five Rulers, this is so good. I'm literally drooling over the worldbuilding here. I love love love smaller kingdoms and regional politics and all the things you've got that the Lunaverse doesn't because Equestria is such a regional superpower and we bucked up the Night Court stories so badly.

Sonata is best chef!

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